Demonstrators carrying torches protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, on May 13.
(Allison Wrabel/The Daily Progress via AP).
White nationalist Richard Spencer led a group of protesters who gathered Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.to protest the sale of a statue of Robert E. Lee that stands in a local park. In this November 15, 2016, photo, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, center, during a press conference in Charlottesville, Va. Signer has become the target of anonymous Twitter trolls' hate-filled, Anti-Semitic.
Like Damigo, numerous demonstrators weren't necessarily Southerners but sympathized with the fight to preserve a history which they say is increasingly under attack by Left-wing ideologues who want to tear down statues, change the names of buildings and rewrite history books to place white people in an unsympathetic and even hostile light.
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Many public figures are advised to ignore the trolls. Stewart's account tweeted at least six political messages Sunday, both before and after his declaration of a holiday timeout.
Spencer also went viral earlier this year after Twitter users set video of him being punched in the face at the presidential inauguration to various songs. "What's your real name?"
The Democratic mayor said in an interview with the Associated Press Monday that he doesn't intend to make a habit out of responding to online trolls.
"I think it's horrific", Signer told ABC News.
Spencer is a white nationalist who helped popularize the term "alt-right", according to the Daily Progress.
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Onetime Virginia congressman Tom Perriello, who's now running for the governor's office on an unapologetically progressive platform, denounced the protests as acts of hatred unleashed by the election of President Donald Trump.
But despite some attendees attempts to downplay the rally-one known white supremacist laughably described it as a candlelight protest-the images from the scene harkened back to the height of the Ku Klux Klan, who would routinely use torches and crosses set aflame to attack or intimidate black citizens. "We're not white supremacists", said protestor Orry Von Dize.
On Sunday, May 14, the day after the torch-lit event, people gathered at the same location to counter protest the previous day's rally. Police were called to the park and the protests ended without an arrest. The Charlottesville City Council had voted to remove the statues of Lee and another Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson, located in a different park. Signer instead supported a plan to add a new memorial to civil rights victories.
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There has also been dissent over the council's decision to rename parks named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jackson, also Confederate Civil Wall general.